Yesterday I made a devastating parenting mistake.
Tim and I were sitting in the shade in his brother’s backyard, sipping cold drinks and reading. Beautiful summer morning. The boys were playing on a slip-n-slide a ways off. A peaceful moment.
We had no idea what was coming.
Now here’s the thing about my boys: They love bugs. They are constantly catching bugs and creepy crawly things. This doesn’t bother me. Sometimes I’ll even help them.
We’ve caught ladybugs, worms, lizards, even snakes together.
There have only been a few occasions where they’ve stuck something right under my nose (literally) that has horrified me, and I’ve managed to keep my cool and breathe slowly until they take it away.
I have a pretty good poker face. This comes from years of youth ministry of all sorts. I can usually hear or see something outrageous and not react. This is a useful parenting skill. As long as you can keep your kids from surprising you, you keep the upper hand.
So. Back to yesterday.
Our blissful reverie was interrupted by our two children running over yelling. Big Brother had something clutched tight in his butterfly net, and Little Guy was proudly yelling that Big Brother caught “a huge spider!”
Look closely. That is a big, nasty wolf spider. It was frantically running around its little net space on top of Big Brother’s hand looking for someone to kill.
I immediately screamed and tried to keep from throwing up.
Tim calmly (of course, the man is never ruffled) said, “Umm, buddy, that kind can actually bite. You might want to let that one go.”
At this, Big Brother opened the net and dropped it right where we were sitting.
I screamed and flew out of my chair (I’m extremely pregnant, it usually takes me awhile to move anywhere) and shot across the yard away from the angry spider now bent on revenge.
This is when I realized my mistake.
I let my poker face slip. Not just slip. I destroyed my calm, parenting face.
They can smell fear, you know. I’m talking about the children, not the spider. They saw what makes their mom lose her mind and scream in terror. And they. did. it. They have the power now. If you have boys, you realize how dangerous this is. Boys love to make their moms scream. I think this is considered loving in their minds? And I freely showed them what I’m most afraid of.
What have I done?
If you are a mom of boys, can you relate? I want to hear about it.